10.24.2014

[SD Messer WIP 001] We Can Make Him Better Than He Was

Previously on Gundariumsmith,
The Xi Gundam's full paint job may not come for a long time. However, I have big plans for the little guy... I am not sure exactly how I should go about it, but I will definitely make WIP posts as I take steps to customizing the SD Messer. Stay tuned!


The SD Messer is a simple 5 piece mono-eye mobile suit included in the SD Xi Gundam kit. The only color separation the SD Messer has is the stickers that make up the mono-eye - two black stickers, one with a pink circle. This became the first step of customization: creating a true mono-eye. I would first need to remove the plastic that the stickers would go over. I started by melting holes into those spaces by heating a Flathead screwdriver and forcing the heated metal into the plastic.


As I guided the tiny yellow Flathead screwdriver over an old orange lighter, I thought about the times I tried to fashion a plastic piece. The first time involved a cheap scale model car - it was a black '69 Dodge Charger from The Fast and The Furious. I wanted to bend a certain piece in the kit, so I took a lighter to it...needless to say, the piece vaporized. The second time, I was slightly smarter about it. Removing the air restrictor of a Nerf blaster, I heated a screwdriver and melted the piece off. This way, I was able to control the heat put into the plastic, as to not ruin the rest of the piece. At this point, I was pretty confident I would not be destroying the plastic. Once I melted holes big enough, I used a file and a knife to scrape out the shape I wanted for the mono-eye slot.

 

So far so good. Now for the actual eye-piece! I debated whether to use a Builders Parts MS Sight Lens, or go all out with an LED circuit. Though I am still interested in using LED's, I decided to scrap the idea and use what I already have.
Mounting the MS Sight Lens was going to be a problem - unlike any regular HG mono-eye suit, this suit does not include a plastic ring for the mono-eye sticker to sit on. Luckily, for structural reasons, there is a vertical wall perpendicular to Messer's face. Though I would need to find a plastic ring to mount the mono-eye on, at least the ring has something to build off of.


A plastic ring with a good diameter happened to be the cylinder of a simple ball point pen. I mounted the sight lens to a cut out of the pen. At first, the lens would not hold properly - because the plastic is flimsy, warping the cylinder would prevent the lens from setting, so I filled the cylinder with putty, filed a flat surface onto the outer surface of the cylinder, and mounted the lens to the piece. It still looks pretty sloppy. Hopefully I can clean that up when everything dries.


After finding that ring, I cut out a piece of the vertical structure in Messer's head. The cylinder fits in the slot okay, but it is not convincing. I will have to play around with the clearances a little more. One of the challenges I'm facing is the amount of space I am working with. Carving out the slot for the mono-eye was okay, but trying to crave out the inside, even with a small file, has proved to be a challenge.


Seeing I had to let everything dry, I decided it'd be best if I worked on other parts of the Messer alongside the face. I used putty to fill in void spaces on the backs of the arms and the bottom of the rifle.


It currently looks really rough because each hole is pretty big. I need to let the current putty dry before adding any more (just like the mono-eye). You also might notice that the beam rifle's sight is not filled in. That is because I might insert a sight lens in that location. I'll figure that out sometime later - I can work on the beam rifle towards the end since it does not effect the rest of the suit.


Though the parts were not fully dried, I decided to do a dry run before continuing. It seems the parts will fit properly with the eye piece in the head. Now I need to figure out how to mount it properly.

There we have it: the first Work In Progress post for the SD Messer. Next WIP post will probably show the filled in holes smoothed out and hopefully primed (as weather/time permits). The body is a little trickier with the custom mono-eye - I am not sure what the sequence of painting / assembly will look like yet.
Stay "tuned" (whatever that means on the internet) as I turn this monochrome five-piece mobile suit into a masterpiece shelf-worthy piece!